Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility

Top 5: Bernstein, the ‘cloud’ and 2 suits dismissed

Gregg Bernstein’s appointment of two lawyers to key posts on his staff was the top staff story in law this week. Following closely behind were two lawsuits dismissed by judges.

1. Bernstein names Elizabeth Embry, George Hazel to leadership posts – by Brendan Kearney

Baltimore City State’s Attorney-elect Gregg Bernstein has named two relatively young lawyers to “key leadership positions” in his administration, his first public hires since edging out longtime incumbent Patricia C. Jessamy in September’s primary election.

George Hazel was a federal prosecutor in Washington, D.C., Baltimore and, until Friday, Prince George’s County. Elizabeth Embry, a Baltimore native Jessamy hired out of law school, most recently stood in for Bernstein’s wife as acting director of the Mayor’s Office on Criminal Justice during this summer’s campaign.

2. Judge dismisses federal suit over ‘live burn’ fatality – by Barbara Grzincic

The “live burn” training exercise that cost Racheal Wilson her life does not create grounds for a civil rights action in U.S. District Court, a federal judge has ruled.

Although it would have meant failing the program, Wilson could have declined to complete the exercise — and under prior case law, that meant her participation was voluntary, Judge Benson Everett Legg ruled Friday.

“In such a situation, the Court cannot say that the actions of the Fire Department, however reckless they may have been, rise to the level of a constitutional violation,” Legg wrote.

3. Code of Judicial Conduct silent on party for Judge-Elect Asti – by Danny Jacobs

The party Tuesday night is billed as a Victory Celebration for Alison L. Asti, judge-elect to the Anne Arundel County Circuit Court. It is also a fundraiser, with tickets starting at $150 per person and topping out at $1,000 for a VIP sponsorship.

Such an event is not barred by Maryland law, but a post-election fundraising soiree is unusual for a state judicial candidate. Asti and party organizers are adamant, however, that guests will not be buying influence over a judge 13 days before she is sworn in.

4. Cloud computing making inroads at many Maryland law firms – by Danielle Ulman

Cloud computing is beginning to gain traction with local lawyers despite broader concerns about the security of storing documents and programs on remote servers.

The practice allows businesses to access files and programs through the Internet (the “cloud”) instead of installing the software onto their own server or individual workstations. Firms can cut costs by paying a monthly fee rather than buying and maintaining hardware or paying licensing fees for products. For a small firm, the cost savings of not having to own or maintain the server hardware or have an IT person on staff could have a big impact.

5. Ex-Flex Squad officers’ suit dismissed – by Steve Lash

Four former members of the disbanded Southwestern District Flex Squad have lost their $40 million federal lawsuit alleging that police department leaders violated their constitutional and civil rights by suspending them from active duty.

The officers also alleged that internal police investigators violated their privacy by sharing information with the media about the investigation and their suspension, which came after a woman claimed she was raped by another officer in the squad room.